So cycle 2 begins by checking into Vincent Pallotti hospital in Pinelands. My team has recommended that we get a port inserted to facilitate my fairly lengthy treatment program.
Summarised as follows: A port consists of a reservoir compartment (the portal) that has a silicone bubble for needle insertion (the septum), with an attached plastic tube (the catheter). The device is surgically inserted under the skin in the upper chest or in the arm and appears as a bump under the skin.
It is an alternative to an intravenous catheter (or IV for short), a device placed “peripherally” into an arm or hand. In comparing a port to an IV, there are advantages, disadvantages and risks to both.
Advantages of a port:
- Access to a port is into the port mechanism; not directly into the vein. This avoids puncture wounds and damage directly to the vein.
- The port is generally very visible and easily felt, resulting in safer, more efficient access than an IV site. A safe, suitable IV access site can be difficult to locate for some patients.
- Some medications, can cause serious, sometimes permanent, tissue damage if they come in contact with the skin. This can occur more easily with an IV access, but would be very rare with a port.
- The port access site is prepared with a sterile technique; IV access is a clean technique.
- The port can be used for delivering fluids, medications and transfusions; for drawing labs; and for PET/CT dye injections for scans (power ports). IV access with treatment generally requires two venipunctures; one for lab draws and then the IV access for treatment.
- The port can remain accessed with a needle up to seven days if no complications arise; an IV is generally limited to four days.
- The port can be permanent and used as long as it is needed; IV access is always temporary. Ports can be removed if no longer needed.
All went well and the procedure was completed in < 30 mins and I was now the owner of a shiny new port and a pair of forceps that had been left inside my chest cavity ….. by special request just to mess with airport security scanners.
OK for those that are still warming to my dark sarcastic streak …. the forceps were not left inside…. in the pic above they are merely holding the port catheter in place during the x-ray.